Alexander William Macdonald, (born: 8 October 1923) – British by birth and French by decree – is a Buddhist scholar and cultural anthropologist of wide renown. He is an equally well-known specialist of the ethno-history of the Himalayas, with interests concentrated in the interaction of oral and written traditions. Veritably an indefatigable researcher – who, for about 40 years, has been with the National Center of Scientific Research in Paris, and is now an honorary Directeur de Recherche, he has done considerable spells of field-work in Nepal, Sikkim and Ladakh: not only in high altitude areas, but in the valleys and plains as well.
Besides his stints at the Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu: 1973-75, the Chinese University, Hong Kong: 1979-80, and California University, Berkeley: 1984, among other teaching positions/assignments, Professor Macdonald has had a four-year term: 1991-95, as General Secretary of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Published extensively, he is also in-charge of a publication series of the Laboratoire d’ Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative, at the University of Paris X, Nanterre.